SC Collegium recommends four names, defers one

Neeraj Rohmetra
JAMMU, Apr 6:  Supreme Court Collegium has recommended names of three advocates and one Judicial Officer for appointment as Judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Reliable sources told EXCELSIOR, “while the State High Court Collegium had recommended five names to the Apex Court, only four of them could make it to the final list”. These included Wasim Sadiq Nargal, Nazir Ahmed Beig, Sindhu Sharma – all advocates and former District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Rashid Ali Dar.
“The case of another advocate from Kashmir – Showkat Ahmad Makroo was deferred by the SC Collegium in view of the material available against the candidate”, said the official document issued by the Apex Court Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India, Justice Deepak Mishra, Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Sources said, “two days prior to today’s formal recommendations, the SC Collegium had invited all the recommendees to New Delhi and held detailed interaction with them”.
It is pertinent to mention here that on August 24, 2017 the then Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad in consultation with two senior most Judges had recommended five names for appointment as High Court Judges.
As per the Memorandum of Procedure (MOP) for appointment of High Court Judge, the SC Collegium while deliberating on the subject is also supposed to take on board views of the Judge belonging to the State, from where recommendations have been forwarded. “However, at present, there is no Judge in the Apex Court conversant with the affairs of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, who could help the Collegium in assessing the suitability of the recommendees”, sources pointed out.
“Therefore, the SC Collegium of their own assessed the merit and suitability of the recommendees for elevation to the High Court. They carefully scrutinised the entire material including the views of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti and the Governor N N Vohra on the file”, sources said, adding, “material also comprised the reports of intelligence agencies, the statistics of reported/unreported judgements and pro bono cases handled & by the Bar members as well as observations made by the Department of Justice in the file”.
“As regards Rashid Ali Dar – former District & Sessions Judge, the Collegium had considered his service record, report of the Judicial Assessment Committee, ACRs and also the fact that on the date of vacancy, he qualified as per the age criterion applicable to a Judicial Officer recommended for elevation”, said the SC document.
The sanctioned strength of the J&K High Court is 17 Judges including Chief Justice, but presently there are only 10 Judges. These included Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, Justice Alok Aradhe, Justice Ali Mohd Magrey, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Justice Tashi Rabstan, Justice Janak Raj Kotwal, Justice Sanjeev Kumar Shukla, Justice M K Hanjura and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta besides acting Chief Justice R Sudhakar.
On March 14 this year, Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed had retired after completing his stint as the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir and Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar has been appointed as Acting Chief Justice.
“With these appointments, the strength of the High Court Judge would go up to 14 and there will be  still three more vacancies”, sources remarked.
Advocate Wasim Sadiq Nargal is presently Senior Additional Advocate General and had earlier also served as Additional Advocate General (Home Department), Information Department and Cable Car Corporation and had been dealing with all types of cases including service matter, other writ petitions, criminal cases and arbitration matters.
Nargal is presently working as Standing Counsel for Jammu University, SKAUST-J, Institute of Management, Public Administration and Rural Development, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University and had earlier also worked with several Government Departments.
Advocate Sindhu Sharma is presently Assistant Solicitor General of India in J&K High Court, Jammu Wing and she was the first lady Advocate of State to be appointed as Assistant Solicitor General of India.  “She will have the distinction of being first lady Judge of the State”, sources asserted.
She was appointed as Assistant Solicitor General of India first in November 2014 for a period of three years and further granted extension for a further period of three years in November 2017. She is presently counsel for NHPC, Power Grid Corporation and Jammu Development Authority.
Nazir Ahmed Beig had served as Senior Additional Advocate General during Governor’s rule in 2016 as well as with the Home Department, State Legislature, Civil Aviation, Law Department and some other departments. Presently, Beig is Standing Counsel in the High Court representing the High Court, State Legal Services Authority and some Central institutions.
Advocate S A Makroo had earlier served as Assistant Solicitor General of India in J&K High Court, Srinagar Wing.
Rashid Ali Dar had retired as Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar on November 20 last year.